Today’s challenge for Thursday, March 10: Lighten up. What you do first thing in the morning can have a negative impact on your daily joy quotient.

By Gina Roberts-Grey and Lynya Floyd

Chances are you’re sabotaging your happiness without even knowing it. If the first thing you do in the morning is grab your cell phone or turn on the morning news, you could be setting the wrong tone for the next 24 hours. “Starting your day watching as little as three minutes of sad, depressing or disturbing news can lead to a 27% higher likelihood of having an unhappy day,” says researcher Michelle Gielan, founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research.

Instead, set yourself up for cheer with inspirational podcasts, upbeat music or even a fun home improvement show. “That primes your brain to be positive,” says Gielan.

Need a few more ideas to nudge you toward happiness? Try these:

  • Quickly say ohm. If you’ve got five minutes, you’ve got time for a fast meditation to bring calm and focus to your day. Not sure where to start? Just click here and listen to Lauren Imparato, founder of I.AM.YOU yoga studio in New York City and author of RETOX: Healthy Solutions for Real Life, talk you through a five-minute guided meditation to start off your day.
  • Talk the talk. A positive affirmation can set your intention for the day. Try empowering phrases like: “Today will be filled with great opportunities,” “I am a powerful person,” “The odds are stacked in my favor today,” or “I’m so thankful for my family.”
  • Choose cheerful news. The Good News Network intentionally avoids the depressing, pulling positive stories from around the globe about health, culture, arts, science, business, celebrities, pets, kids and more. Download their podcast or check out their site.

Family Circle tapped the Partnership for a Healthier America to help bring you this easy—and fun—wellness challenge. Tell us what you’re watching/listening to this a.m., March 10, 2016, on our Facebook pages or Twitter feeds with the hashtag #14DayChallenge and you could win a prize! No purchase necessary. Open to legal U.S. residents, 18+. See rules for complete details.

Photo Credit: Blake Fitch